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Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics Reduce Hospitalizations In Early Schizophrenia

Jul 15 2020
For individuals with schizophrenia who struggle to maintain regular treatment, long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs) may be a valuable option. A new study indicates that LAIs may be especially beneficial as an early treatment. Among individuals who had been receiving antipsychotic therapy for fewer than five years, psychiatric hospitalization was less common for those treated with an LAI compared to typical treatment. Reducing the chances of relapse and hospitalization for those with early-phase schizophrenia is an important step to supporting recovery. To learn more, see the study in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Depression More Effective When Delivered Virtually

Jul 09 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in use of teletherapy, it is critical to measure the effectiveness of online and virtual treatment tools. A new analysis shows that cognitive therapy (CBT) for depression may actually be more effective when it is delivered virtually compared to a traditional face-to-face setting. Across 17 studies conducted in six countries, participants reported greater improvement in symptoms and no change in satisfaction when they connected with their therapists through web-based applications, video-conferencing, email and text messaging. To learn more, see the study in EClinicalMedicine.  

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Depression Is Strongly Associated With Heart Disease Worldwide

Jun 10 2020
New research suggests that depression may be just as important as smoking or high cholesterol in predicting a person’s risk of heart disease. A global study with more than 145,000 participants shows that cardiovascular disease and heart attacks are up to 20% more common in people with depression. The risk is even higher for men, and for people living in urban areas. This evidence strongly supports the need to integrate physical health and mental health treatment to support overall wellness. To learn more, see the study in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Survey Demonstrates Significant Rise in Psychological Distress During COVID-19 Pandemic

Jun 03 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant grief, disruptions to daily life and economic hardship. To measure how these conditions are affecting mental health, researchers conducted a nationwide survey of U.S. adults and compared the results to a similar survey conducted in 2018. Overall rates of psychological distress more than tripled from 2018 to April 2020, with some groups showing especially dramatic increases: 24% of young adults (18-29) reported experiencing psychological distress, compared to 3.7% in 2018. As the pandemic continues, communities and providers must prepare to support a greater need for mental health treatment. To learn more, see the report from JAMA.

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Researchers Identify Pathway Connecting Chronic Stress, Inflammation and Mood Disorders

May 22 2020
Researchers are beginning to understand exactly how chronic stress plays a role in the development of conditions like anxiety and depression. Past studies have connected chronic stress to inflammation in the brain. And now, using a specialized mouse model, researchers have demonstrated that stress only leads to behavior change, like social withdrawal and memory deficits, when receptors for the inflammatory compound Interleukin-1 are active in the hippocampus. If future studies replicate this pathway in humans, it may lead to new, specialized treatment options. To learn more, see the study in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Report Highlights Importance of Peer Acceptance for Young LGBTQ Asian American/Pacific Islanders

May 13 2020
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth are significantly more likely to report depression and suicidality than their straight/cisgender peers. A new report focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) youth, who are often excluded from studies. The report shows that API youth are significantly less likely to be open about their LGBTQ identity with their parents but are equally as likely as non-API youth to share their identity with friends. Critically, sexual orientation acceptance from straight friends reduced the risk of suicide among API LGBTQ youth by more than half. To learn more, visit the Trevor Project website.

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Health Care Workers Report Significant Mental Health Burden During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 08 2020
Measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on front-line workers is critical to developing interventions to support them. Health care workers (HCWs), including physicians, nurses, clinical and non-clinical support staff, face physical and emotional stress that can have significant and lasting impact on their mental health and well-being. A new study of over 30,000 HCWs shows that at least 20% are experiencing depression and anxiety, and nearly 40% are experiencing difficulties sleeping. This noteworthy prevalence highlights the need to identify individuals at risk and provide necessary mental health support. To learn more, see the study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

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Global Study Highlights Importance of Regular Sleep Patterns For Teen Mental Health

May 07 2020
Many people are experiencing disrupted sleep schedules and habits as a result of physical distancing requirements under COVID-19. To measure how these disruptions are affecting adolescents, researchers analyzed data from over 350,000 teenagers around the world. The results show that reduced sleep is associated with a 55% increase in “mood deficits,” including depression, anxiety and anger. The researchers recommend that parents and guardians emphasize the importance of regular sleep habits, including monitoring the use of technology before bed. To learn more, see the study in Sleep Medicine Reviews.

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Antibody Therapy May Represent New Way to Treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Apr 21 2020
Most treatments for conditions like anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) target chemical activity in the brain, but a new study supports targeting the immune system. Researchers discovered that mice with high levels of a protein called Immuno-moodulin, or Imood, experienced significant anxiety. Treating those mice with an antibody against Imood caused the symptoms to disappear in a few days. Researchers have now shown that people with OCD have levels of Imood up to six times higher than unaffected people and are working to develop an antibody therapy for future study. To learn more, see the study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

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Innovative Fast-Fail Trial Identifies Potential New Target For Treating Anhedonia

Mar 30 2020
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) established the Fast-Fail Trials program to reduce barriers to developing new psychiatric treatments. A fast-fail trial allows researchers to quickly test a potential target for treatment before investing resources into a full drug trial. Researchers have published the results of a fast-fail trial for the first time, showing that the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) mechanism plays a role in reward and pleasure. This evidence will support the development of new treatments for anhedonia — the “loss of pleasure” that is common with many mood and anxiety disorders. To learn more, visit the NIMH website.